Who Knows Everything?

If you can think back to the time when you were five or six, who did you think knew everything? I was five in 1950; a lot of us thought our parents knew everything, especially our fathers. In what then passed for middle class families, fathers went out to work and mothers stayed home, so fathers knew more. Maybe you thought the President of the United States knew everything, especially if you remembered FDR’s reassuring fireside chats. Maybe you thought H.V. Kaltenborn, or later, Walter Cronkite, was an omniscient voice. Maybe you though everything there was to know didn’t reside in a person, but in the Encyclopedia. Some families had their own set, for which most paid on time. Some went to the library to look up things in the Encyclopedia there. That the information was at least five years old by the time it was gathered, written up, edited, fact checked, compiled into a volume, published, distributed and sold simply didn’t register.

I was driving Archie home from day care the other day when he asked me, “Grammie, do you know Google knows everything?”

Yes, Little Man, I do.

8 thoughts on “Who Knows Everything?

  1. I love it. Remember when there was that big furor about NSA having information on private citizens a couple of years back? We live in an area where there are a lot of current and retired NSA people. One of our friends was very high up on the totem pole when he worked there. We were talking about the situation and he said to me, “Do you know who has more information about ordinary citizens? Not the government. Google does!” Archie’s response brought back this exchange 🙂

  2. for J: So much for them thinking their parents are all-knowing!!! I forgot to ask Archie what he thinks Google is. He knows Daddy works there, but when Matt or Amy say, “Let’s Google it…”, I wonder what he is imagining.

  3. for Ada: You might be the only reader who’d know who H.V. Kaltenborn was. 🙂 I came upon an article that told you how to find out what Google knows about you, and I followed the instructions. Google knows A LOT.

  4. for Ada: H.V. Kaltenborn was a radio commentator who went on air in 1928 — a bit before our time, but he grew to great prominence during World War II, and had the same kind of credibility that Walter Cronkite earned during the VietNam conflict. Kaltenborn would have been more a voice of authority for my mother’s generation. Don’t know why I knew his name — I may have heard her talk about him. Thought you might have come across Kaltenborn in your research on the World Wars.

  5. Yes. I did remember his name but googled him. Saw that he was still on the radio in “our” time, but I had never heard him, to the best of my memory. Only research WWI and he never came up. Actually began broadcasting in 1928.

  6. for Ada: I thought you were the expert on both wars. 🙂 I don’t know why I know his name, but I do. Maybe my mother mentioned listening to him on the radio.

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